At ASJ, we like to emphasize the importance of communicating with your clients, and the power that social media can have on your marketing efforts. A recent mainstream marketing campaign highlighted both of these efforts so well that I just had to talk about it here.

I’m sure all of you are familiar with Old Spice. It’s a classic product, and frankly I’d always considered it to be something my grandfather would wear – sophisticated, sure, but definitely not young or hip. I thought it was something my husband would age into, when the time was right, but not something I expected him to be using before he turned 50.

And then the Old Spice Man took the country by storm.

His commercials are hilarious. They’re very tongue-in-cheek, and some of them are flat-out ridiculous. He often appears riding a horse, taking a bubble bath, lifting weights, or doing other masculine – yet romantic – activities. The ad campaign was genius, and before long a bottle of Old Spice brand body wash appeared in my Gen Y husband’s shower.

But then the Old Spice marketing team came up with something even more genius. Using the combined power of Twitter and YouTube, they allowed the Old Spice Man to communicate directly with his fans/consumers. People could post a question to his Twitter account, and he would answer it in his typical fashion via a personalized (albeit short) YouTube video.

The campaign was a huge success. Even people who had never purchased an Old Spice product in their life were talking about the brand, tweeting about it, posting about the company. Whether you think he’s hilarious or you don’t really understand his brand of humor, you have to admit – the Old Spice Man is on to something.

What if you used his brand of marketing in your insurance practice? YouTube and Twitter are both 100 percent free to join. If you don’t have a camera built-in to your computer, you can purchase a Web cam for less than $20 – or even borrow one from your local library. Invite people to submit questions to you via tweet, email, or Facebook, and answer them on YouTube to create a personal connection. You can show everyone how knowledgeable you are, and the marketing is totally free.

Is something like this actually possible in the insurance world? Maybe. With FINRA’s rules on social marketing, it’s difficult to say what is and isn’t allowed. And of course, if you had a client or prospect ask a sensitive question, you wouldn’t want to share their personal information via a public YouTube video. But the point is, the insurance industry needs to start stepping out of its box and thinking up new ways of communicating with its consumers. It needs to start using these amazing new marketing tools to reach out to the younger folks, and even to engage the older ones who are more tech-savvy. Otherwise, the personal touch of the insurance agent is going to be lost on the younger generations.